Filmmaker Neill Fleeman has a fondness for the Paramount Theater and Alamance County.
“When I started writing ’The Third Act,’ Edd Robinson and I had been looking for a theater to shoot scenes. I called up David Wright at the Paramount Theater and told him we were looking for a historic theater to shoot scenes. He said something like, ’yeah, sounds good.’ That was the start of a beautiful friendship.”
Fleeman, whose pen name is P.E. Marston (one of the characters in Raymond Chandler’s “The Long Goodbye”), said that since 2011, P.E. Marston Films has either shot and/or previewed such films as “The Third Act” and “Little Touch of Harry: A Queasy Documentary” there.
His latest film, “Flashback in Paradise,” was filmed throughout the Piedmont-Triad, including downtown Burlington. The first public preview of the film will be at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Paramount Theater, 128 E. Front St., Burlington. Doors open at 7 p.m.
“This will be a double feature,” Fleeman added. “ ’A Little Touch of Harry’ also will be shown.”
“A Little Touch of Harry” is 63 minutes long. A 15-minute intermission will take place followed by “Flashback in Paradise,” which has a running time of 86 minutes. Cost is $5 per person.
“ ’Flashback in Paradise’ is not exactly a sequel to ’Harry,’ ” Fleeman siad. “It asks the musical question, ’what would happen if Harry Little actually did get killed?”
Harry Little (Fleeman) is in the middle of shooting his 40th feature film when he is hit and killed by a piece of the Chinese Tiangong-1 space station that did not burn up during re-entry. Upon entering the ethereal world, he meets Ariel Jones / Ariel Ashdown (Laura Justad), a young woman who has dreamed about becoming a film actress. Ariel died in the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic.
Edd Robinson plays Russell K. Hubbell, a network anchorman.
“He is based on an actual person,” Fleeman said. “He was a network broadcaster out of New York.”
David Anthony Wright, managing director of the Paramount Theater, stars as Dr. Cesare Caligari (Harry’s doctor). Jane McLelland is Hollywood producer, Julia Philkins.
“Harry’s heart is transplanted into Jane’s character, which really causes waves in Hollywood. Julia is this high-budget films actress and Harry was known for independent films,” Fleeman said.
The film also features 17 classic songs from the Swing Era, Fleeman said, courtesy of V-disc archives.
“During World War II, someone in the Pentagon had the idea to get popular music to the troops in order to increase morale. That’s how V-discs came about,” he said.
Shooting on the film concluded around Christmastime and Fleeman brought the cast in to watch.
“I did some fast rewriting, re-shooting and re-cutting and took it from 93 minutes to 86 minutes,” he said. “I got rid of scenes that I thought Harry was rattling on. I didn’t finish editing it until Jan. 5.”
He is curious to see how the audience perceives the film.
“I reserve the right, as with all of my films, to go back in and change something,” he said.
A question-and-answer session will be held, following the films, and will feature Fleeman, Justad and Robinson.
NOTE: Fleeman said that the films are suitable for all ages. “There is some profanity, but it is bleeped out,” he added.
Tickets can be purchased at etix.com; www.burlingtonnc.gov/paramount; by calling 800-514-3849 or visiting the box office between noon and 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and one hour prior to showtime.
Charity Apple is Accent and Alamance Living editor and volunteer Teens & 20s adviser. She can be reached at email@example.com, 336-506-3057 or follow her on Twitter: @tnCharityApple.